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As my full-time mothering duties began to wind down, I slowly realized that after many years of giving all I had to my family, there wasn't much left inside for me. I had so neglected my own soul that it was starving for attention. I was happy enough, but beneath the happiness was an emptiness that was often barely detectable. When I started to notice how much better I felt the minute I stepped outside I concluded the only thing to do was to shift my life around so I could be outside all the time. There seemed to be no other way to satisfy my intense craving for what I could find only in nature.

This waterfall lies 100 meters past the back corner of our property. Standing before it, it's hard not to recognize that whatever is going on in my human world is quite insignificant in the big picture. The natural world is living proof of something greater than us. Try standing in a place of exquisite natural beauty and replacing your thoughts with feelings. Take the time to notice with your senses all that is going on around you. The world as we know it is in constant motion. We humans seem to get so caught up in what we're doing we forget about all other aspects of being alive. My favorite outdoor meditation is to stand still with my eyes closed and imagine I'm a tree. I feel my feet planted firmly on the ground, rooting me to the earth. As a tree, my only job is to be. Being a tree for a couple minutes feels to me like a nice little vacation from being human.

Unlike trees, we humans need to think and do stuff to survive. The problem with thinking is that we don't know when to stop. We get so wrapped up in our human drama we forget to notice the silence between our words and the stillness behind our actions. We forget all about why we're here. What the human does at the base of the waterfall is insignificant. What matters is that divine energy be allowed to flow through the human and out into the universe.

For me it took several years of living in the middle of thousands of acres of wilderness to satisfy the cravings of my soul. The concept of "God" is no longer a mystery to me. I feel as though I've been wearing ruby slippers for years and never realized that all I had to do was click my heels to find the divine within. You won't find it if you look for it and you can't describe it when it comes, but I can say with conviction that the big question of why we are here has been answered for me.

Of course it isn't necessary to move to the jungle to find spiritual satisfaction; it comes to different people in different ways. Some people find it in organized religion. Some people seek all their lives and never find it. Others are perfectly content to live without it. I found my spirit with the help of megadoses of nature. You might find your spirit at a bowling alley. It's not so much where you look, it's how open you are to receive it when it comes.

The great thing is that now that I've discovered the power in my ruby slippers, I can feel as peaceful in Manhattan as I do in my jungle:)

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~ Confucius

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